20. Goodness

hiker friends Peggy and Leah - July 19, 2014
People helping people.

It is 20 days until the next U.S. congressional midterm election.

How about a good story for a change?

My wife and I left Mount Rushmore pulling our RV just in time to get away from a heavy winter storm in early October. (As storms sometimes do, this one did not live up to its billing, but we were gone before then.)

We arrived in Garden City, Kansas, after a steady rain had set in. We stayed two nights, mainly because of the rain. Next stop would be outside Canyon, Texas, with plans to stay there a few days and explore Palo Duro Canyon State Park. (Did you know it’s the second-largest canyon in the country? Neither did we.)

Heavy rains had ended by the time we arrived at the RV park, where we found a muddy site. Trusting the ground was solid enough for us, I pulled into the pre-arranged site (the owner is generally not present at this place, as was then the case) and my truck’s wheels started spinning.

We fussed with it for a while. I could probably drive off if I took the RV off the truck, but the trailer was far from level, not fully into the site and, most importantly, we would have to hook up to pull it out eventually. Additionally, more rain was expected that night.

Now the good story.

The first local resident we saw (there were only seven RVs there) was a woman walking her dog. Well, she used the dog as an excuse to check up on us.

Let me do a sidebar on RV park etiquette.

There are two types of people watching from their trailers while you’re driving into a park and setting up for your stay. One is the person – OK, it’s probably a guy – who comes out to tell you how to do everything. Don’t be that guy. The other type will greet you, make small talk and offer help, advice and information if it’s needed.

After determining our problem, the woman (amazingly enough, we did not exchange names) actually apologized that her husband had recently had major surgery. “Otherwise, he’d be out here to help us.”

Soon, though, she contacted a neighbor who owned a tractor-trailer rig that was parked on the county road. After looking over the situation, he fetched a chain, unhooked his cattle trailer from his truck, splashed through mud to get in place, hooked up and pulled my truck and RV out of the muck.

He was what we like to call a good ol’ boy. I do not doubt that, if he voted in 2016, he probably voted for Trump. I’m generalizing and making assumptions here, one that he doesn’t keep up with politics too well, and also that he’d love to see American being great again.

Our personal challenge continued. We immediately left that park because the other sites were no better. It was a Monday in October outside Amarillo, Texas; we’d find some other place.

We thought.

Parks were full, parks were flooded. We called as far away as Lubbock and Tucumcari, N.M., before redirecting and booking a Super 8 motel in Amarillo that had a truck parking lot where we could leave our rig.

Meanwhile, Leah located a park in Silverton, some 80 miles to the southeast, and the owner promised an established site that was high and dry.

Next was to get there.

Tuesday morning, I checked the highway department’s road conditions website and found the highway to Silverton had two areas reported under water, but the information was from Monday.

Finally, I called Swisher County government offices in Tulia to see what they knew of the roads. The man who answered the phone in the county judge’s office said he felt they were open, but he took my number, called the local highway department office for a report and then called me back to confirm the road was safe for travel.

Ain’t that grand?

Oh, one other thing. When I answered his call, he said, “This is Judge Keeter.”

Yes, the county judge not only answered the phone himself but contacted the highway department and then called me with the information I needed.

Isn’t that wonderful?

Since almost all my thoughts these days are couched in political good guys and bad guys, I couldn’t help but consider that this Republican politician had helped me. Well, I assumed he was Republican because the entire Panhandle voted for Trump. In Swisher County, Trump got 75.8 percent of the vote and Hillary Clinton only 21 percent.

I took that as good news, even though he would likely have deduced from my voice that I was an older, white male and assumed I, too, was a Republican. We must take our good news where we can find it.

The rest of the story, though, is I learned Judge Harold Keeter is a Democrat.

That’s OK. It doesn’t change my hopes about people.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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